This was the first year they put on this race and there were good numbers for the half marathon and 5k. There were also some really incredible volunteers and decent course support. The half started a few minutes late, but before I knew it we were off. The course was pretty nice; after navigating through parts of Cheshire, a good portion of the race was on the bike path out there, so we were running through the woods and in mostly shady areas. The course was supposed to be flat and fast, but I definitely felt like it was slightly hillier than I expected and am used to. It wasn’t big hills, like the Newport Half, but there were a lot of smaller inclines, which sometimes I think is worse because you don’t even realize that you’re going uphill, but your body/legs certainly do.
I’m not sure what my splits were because I chose to wear a smaller watch instead of my Garmin, but the first four miles were approximately the following: 8:20, 8:20, 9:00, and 8:00. Not quite sure how I pulled off an 8-minute pace at mile four, but somehow it happened and then after that, I kind of stopped caring because mentally, I began breaking down.
When I first set out for the race, I thought for sure after a couple of miles that my legs would loosen up and I’d begin to get into a groove. Unfortunately, this never really happened for me and though at the halfway point, I was on track for a sub-2:00 half marathon, my mental breakdowns held me back from achieving that goal of mine. I think that is probably what sucks more than anything else; I absolutely could have done it but I let myself become weak mentally and I even caught myself thinking of all the reasons why I couldn’t do it. I even ended up taking Gu 30 minutes into the race because I felt so awful; then I took another around 65 minutes; and I took a third Gu around 1:35. I usually can hold off until 50 minutes to take a Gu and also only take one or two at the most, depending on how I’m feeling…so that just goes to show how tired I felt so early on in and throughout the race, for whatever reason.
Additionally, I wore capris and a long-sleeve shirt because it was like 40 degrees at the start, but by the end it was close to 60 degrees. In college, during our field hockey games at the end of the season, I was one of maybe two players that never wore Under Armour because I would get way too hot, and I think today was no different; my feet and hands were tingling throughout the last half of the race, and in the last quarter of the race, my feet felt like there were burning and as soon as I crossed the finish line, I took my shoes off. I don’t know…I feel like I’m rambling and making excuses for my own mental struggles but anyway, here were my goals going into the race:
- Don’t walk at all, except through the water stations. I failed at this and ended up walking more than I’d like to admit. I got to the point where I actually was forcing myself to do running intervals because I just wanted the race to be over (3-5 minutes running, 30-60 secs walking, depending on how I felt). It was awful and honestly, I’m really disappointed about this.
- Finish in less than 2 hours. Failed. As I mentioned, at the halfway point, I was on track to complete this goal, but my miles kept getting slower and slower after the half and I felt like I was struggling.
- PR. Succeeded. I told my friend Diana that at the very least, I wanted to PR and I didn’t want not getting sub-2:00 to take away from a PR. So at the very least, I’m happy with this.
It was the first race of the season, and I haven’t been doing long runs consistently, so I don’t think I can be too upset with my time. The end of the race finished around the track at the high school, which I thought was a lot of fun and which really pushed me to finish strong.
I crossed the finish line with a time of 2:06:59, which was 2 minutes faster than my time back in October in Newport. Again, I would’ve loved to have gotten under 2 hours, and I definitely would’ve preferred shaving more time off of my former PR, but I can’t complain. I’m happy I ran the race and I will definitely consider it next year, because it was a great race to start the season off with.